TOPEKA — Police on Tuesday morning released the name of the state capitol’s first homicide victim of 2020, a man who originally hails from Atchison.

Police spokeswoman Gretchen Koenen identified the victim as Emerson D. Downing, 41, of Topeka, to Phil Anderson of The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Authorities said Downing was run over by a car around 1 p.m. Monday in a grassy area in the 1500 block of N.W. Tyler, just west of the Charles Curtis Memorial Park and Cemetery.

Paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Downing at the scene before he was transported by American Medical Response ambulance to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses told officers at the scene that Downing had been run over by a small, black sports car that fled south from the scene.

The Kansas Highway Patrol stopped a vehicle matching the description of the car at S.W. Emland Drive and Gage Boulevard, about a block south of Interstate 70 in west Topeka.

The driver of that car, Chad Thomas Cuevas, 51, was arrested and taken to the Law Enforcement Center for questioning.

Cuevas was booked into the Shawnee County Jail at 9:50 p.m. Monday in connection with first-degree murder.

On Tuesday morning, several police officers and investigators were at the scene where the incident occurred.

A Topeka Police Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit van and several unmarked cars were parked on a concrete walking path about 100 yards east of the location where the incident was reported.

A number of small yellow flags could be seen in a grassy area just west of the concrete walking trail.

Emerson D. Downing, 41, of Topeka, died after being run over by a car early Monday afternoon in the 1500 block of N.W. Tyler, police said. Chad Thomas Cuevas, 51, was booked into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with first-degree murder in the incident.

Police Lt. Manny Munoz on Monday said there are no through-streets in the area where the incident occurred. However, he said, some vehicles drive through the grassy area, using it as a kind of shortcut.

Topeka police on Tuesday morning investigated the scene in the 1500 block of N.W. Tyler where a man identified as Emeson D. Downing, 41, was run over by a car Monday afternoon. Downing later died from his injuries, becoming the first homicide victim of 2020 in Topeka. Chad Thomas Cuevas, 51, was booked into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with first-degree murder in the case.

Police said the incident stemmed from a disturbance that had occurred a short time earlier at a mobile home park near N.W. Waddell and Tyler.

Phil Anderson can be reached via panderson@cjonline.com

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